Helping your four-legged best friend when they’re in need is part and parcel of pet ownership. However, it’s not uncommon for illness or injury to go unnoticed – or undiagnosed. Many symptoms are obvious, but others can be extremely subtle, flying beneath the radar of even the most dedicated pet owners.
September is Animal Pain Awareness Month. Even though most owners are tuned in to the habits and behaviors of their pet, we could all use some helpful reminders when it comes to pet pain.
Consistency is Key
Animals love routine. They like to anticipate their next meal, when the backdoor might be open again, and the frequency of play or exercise time. Perhaps the most apparent symptom of pet pain is departure from their normal routine, which may present in the following ways:
Increased lethargy, withdrawal, or downright hiding
Changes in bathroom habits
These symptoms can also be associated with pet pain:
Increased vocalization, hissing, or whimpering
Uncharacteristic agitation, aggression, or submissive tendencies
Tail flicking (in cats)
Sudden shaking or shivering
Displays intense sensitivity when touched
Most pet owners bring their pet in to see us when they notice Fluffy or Fido isn’t jumping up on the couch anymore or they’re reluctant to go down the stairs. Age-related issues, such as joint pain, hip dysplasia, cancer, dental disease, or osteoarthritis, can result in significant pet pain. Pain after surgery is also common.
Senior pet care requires a bit more vigilance and consistency, but together, we can help make your pet’s golden years more comfortable. The following may be considered to help manage pet pain in older pets:
Nutritional supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Other prescription pet pain medication
The Future of Pet Pain
Animals do their best to hide or mask symptoms of pain as a method of self-preservation. As a result, it’s incredibly important to be your pet’s health advocate and provide them with the help they need.